New York at Anaheim

W: K. Jepsen (1-0) L: P. Hughes (0-1)
S: B. Fuentes (3)
HR: NYY - None   ANA - None

Angels rally for three in seventh, push Yankees to Game 6 wire reports

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Mere moments after the Los Angeles Angels unleashed their leaping, screeching, rambunctious Rally Monkey on the scoreboard, they erased a late deficit and saved their season.

Surely that monkey business was just a coincidence. He's just a marketing gimmick, a video star and a plush toy -- right?

Angels' rally gives them second life
by Scott Miller
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Tell Scott your opinion!

Not to the fans who watched it happen Thursday night in the latest improbability of an AL Championship Series game. Not to the Yankees, who were three innings away from tickets to the World Series before the Angels snatched them away with a 7-6 comeback victory that cut New York's edge to 3-2.

"Anything is possible, man," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said. "Baseball is a crazy game, man. You see some crazy things. Every time you come to the game, you've probably been to 1,000 games, and you see something different every year."

Kendry Morales drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the seventh inning as the Angels responded to the Yankees' six-run comeback moments earlier with a three-run rally of their own, each hit more improbable than the last.

When closer Brian Fuentes retired Nick Swisher on a bases-loaded, full-count popup for the final, perilous out, the Angels and their monkey had held on -- and evoked the faintest echoes of the Yankees' last trip to this stage of the postseason, which ended in their unprecedented four-game flameout in 2004.

Free-spending Yankees have no set-up man to bail them out
by Gregg Doyel
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"It's a missed opportunity, but we still have another game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've bounced back from tough losses all year long. We've had it happen to us before and been able to get off the carpet."

Game 6 will be Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, with Andy Pettitte facing Los Angeles' Joe Saunders. Also in the forecast: a huge rainstorm.

"It gives them a couple more days of hope, and hopefully that hope ends on Saturday because anything can happen, especially with as tough of conditions as we're going to be playing in," said Johnny Damon, who went 1 for 5. "They still have to beat us two times at our place, and hopefully that's going to be tough to do."

When Robinson Cano jubilantly rolled into third base with a two-run triple to put New York up 6-4 in the seventh, everything in somber Angel Stadium pointed to a clinching victory, a record 40th AL pennant and a date with Philadelphia next week for the Yankees. Surely the season would be forever tainted by manager Mike Scioscia's decision with two outs in the seventh to pull John Lackey, the workhorse starter who dominated New York for six innings.

Instead, the Angels showed off the knack for late-game comebacks they've possessed ever since their run to their only championship in 2002, when the beloved Rally Monkey began appearing in the late innings. Los Angeles set the franchise record with 47 comeback victories this season, and both of their playoff triumphs against the Yankees were comebacks.

Vladimir Guerrero's single tied it in the seventh for the Angels, who didn't surrender after blowing a 4-0 lead in a must-win game.

"It was definitely a do-or-die situation," Lackey said. "Now we've got one more game to go, and hopefully we'll make it to the next one. The guys showed a lot of character tonight, for sure. Having the rough seventh inning and then coming right back and scoring three runs showed a lot about our team."

Although two games in the Bronx -- and shutdown starter CC Sabathia -- still stand in the Angels' way, the collapse raised the slightest reminders of what happened to the Yankees' last big lead in an ALCS. The Red Sox famously rallied from a 3-0 deficit in 2004, making a late rally to win Game 4 before finishing off the biggest comeback in baseball history in seven games.

Only six teams have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a League Championship Series -- most recently in 2007, when Boston came back against Sabathia and Cleveland on the way to a title. Including the World Series, 11 of 70 teams that fell into a 3-1 hole have made the comeback.

Four teams previously have won the final two LCS games on the road.

The Angels hadn't scored a run before the fourth inning of any playoff game this fall until they jumped on Yankees starter A.J. Burnett, who yielded eight hits and three walks.

Lackey, soon to be among the sport's most coveted free agents, cruised through the first six innings after Los Angeles scored four in the first, and the ace reacted with audible disappointment when Scioscia pulled him from what might be his final start with his only team.

Lackey left to a standing ovation with a tip of his cap -- and the Yankees probably were cheering, too.

Reliever Darren Oliver yielded a three-run double to Mark Teixeira -- 3 for 21 in the ALCS at that point -- on his first pitch, and Hideki Matsui added a tying single.

Incredibly, it wasn't over -- and Burnett shared the blame with his bullpen. Altogether, the seventh inning featured nine runs and 63 pitches over nearly 45 minutes.

Jeff Mathis and Erick Aybar reached base to chase Burnett, the big-money free agent who's still winless in three postseason starts. After Mathis scored on Bobby Abreu's RBI groundout, Guerrero's ground-ball single against reliever Phil Hughes eluded a diving Derek Jeter to tie it -- and Morales put the Angels ahead with the latest clutch hit of his breakout season.

"That's not a forgiving team over there," Scioscia said. "They hit pretty quick in that inning with six runs, and we bounced back and answered with three. In the dugout between innings, guys were still pumped up. Just some real good hitting."

Jered Weaver, who started Game 3 for the Angels, pitched a hitless eighth before Fuentes barely escaped the ninth. After two quick outs, he intentionally walked Alex Rodriguez with nobody on base before walking Matsui and hitting Cano with a pitch. That loaded the bases for the slumping Swisher, who battled Fuentes for seven pitches before popping out.

"My hair is falling out," said the shaved-headed Hunter, who had a two-run single in the first. "We're having a little fun, man. Everybody thought we were down."


  • In the latest instance of questionable umpiring in a postseason chock-full of it, Damon appeared to beat Lackey to first base on a bang-bang play to end the third inning, but Dale Scott ruled him out.
  • Wearing a Yankees cap, Escape From New York star Kurt Russell was at Angel Stadium more than two hours early to watch batting practice.
  • Mathis set the club's playoff record with hits in six consecutive at-bats. He had a single in the second inning, a double in the fifth and another single in the seventh.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game
New York

M. Teixeira
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0

T. Hunter
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 0

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February 24, 2017
2017 AL East Preview: New York Yankees (3:09)
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS4110121 .314
Johnny Damon, LF5010003 .211
Mark Teixeira, 1B5123012 .171
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3110213 .400
    Freddy Guzman, PR0000000 .000
Hideki Matsui, DH3111202 .269
    Brett Gardner, PR-DH0000000 .667
Robinson Cano, 2B4012013 .212
Nick Swisher, RF5000014 .103
Melky Cabrera, CF4120020 .303
Jose Molina, C1000000 .250
   a- Jorge Posada, PH-C2100111 .308
a-struck out for Molina in the 5th
2B - Mark Teixeira (1, Oliver), Alex Rodriguez (2, Lackey), Melky Cabrera (2, Lackey)
3B - Robinson Cano (2, Jepsen)
RBI - Mark Teixeira 3 (4), Hideki Matsui (5), Robinson Cano 2 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teixeira 3 (3), Hideki Matsui (4), Robinson Cano 2 (3)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Rodriguez-Cano-Teixeira, Cano-Jeter-Teixeira
New York Yankees
A.J. Burnett 6866330 4.42
Damaso Marte (H,1) 0.2000000 0.00
Phil Hughes (BS,1; L,0-1) 0.1211110 5.79
Joba Chamberlain 0.1200010 3.38
Mariano Rivera 0.2000000 0.00
WP - A.J. Burnett (2)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 89-55, Damaso Marte 4-3, Phil Hughes 18-9, Joba Chamberlain 10-8, Mariano Rivera 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 8-5, Damaso Marte 2-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 27, Damaso Marte 2, Phil Hughes 4, Joba Chamberlain 3, Mariano Rivera 2
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B3100112 .065
Bobby Abreu, RF5111012 .267
Torii Hunter, CF2222200 .276
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4122001 .333
Kendry Morales, 1B4022011 .200
Maicer Izturis, 2B4000013 .125
Juan Rivera, LF4010001 .188
    Reggie Willits, PR-LF0000000 .000
Jeff Mathis, C4130011 .538
Erick Aybar, SS3110102 .321
2B - Bobby Abreu (4, Burnett), Vladimir Guerrero (2, Burnett), Juan Rivera (2, Chamberlain), Jeff Mathis (4, Burnett)
SH - Chone Figgins (3)
RBI - Bobby Abreu (2), Torii Hunter 2 (5), Vladimir Guerrero 2 (6), Kendry Morales 2 (7)
2-OUT RBI - Vladimir Guerrero (5), Kendry Morales (3)
SB - Torii Hunter (1, 2nd base off Burnett/Molina), Erick Aybar (3, 2nd base off M. Rivera/Posada)
Team LOB - 7
Los Angeles Angels
John Lackey 6.2633370 2.29
Darren Oliver (BS,1)0233100 4.50
Kevin Jepsen (W,1-0) 0.1100000 3.60
Jered Weaver (H,1) 1000020 2.70
Brian Fuentes (S,3) 1000200 1.93
IBB - Rodriguez by Darren Oliver, Rodriguez by Brian Fuentes
HBP - Cano (by Brian Fuentes)
Pitches-Strikes - John Lackey 104-62, Darren Oliver 8-3, Kevin Jepsen 5-3, Jered Weaver 11-8, Brian Fuentes 24-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lackey 7-6, Jered Weaver 1-0
Batters Faced - John Lackey 29, Darren Oliver 3, Kevin Jepsen 2, Jered Weaver 3, Brian Fuentes 6
Game Information
Attendance - 45113
Game Time - 3:34
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Tim McClelland, Third Base - Laz Diaz